DIAMOND VALLEY LAKE, CA — A 47-year-old man admitted Wednesday that he started 10 wildfires along the north shore of Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet last fall.
In the plea deal, Noel Lopez Mejia admitted guilt on 10 arson counts, 10 allegations of setting the blazes during a state of emergency that was in response to ongoing California wildfires, and one count of grand theft. In exchange for the plea, Mejia received a prison sentence of 17 years and four months, according to Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department.
Mejia set the fires between September 29 and November 26, according to the agency. Approximately 40 acres were charred within the Southwestern Riverside Multi-Species Reserve.
Mejia was arrested December 19 on Old Mine Road in Hemet by Cal Fire peace officers, jail records show.
Agencies involved the investigation included Cal Fire, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.